Cloud

The yellow brick road to cloud comfort

Yellow Brick Road

The path to cloud confidence?

NASA CIO Linda Cureton has a message for IT managers still concerned about the security risks that come with cloud and mobile: Those things are coming fast, so get used to it -- and get ahead of the demand.

"Regardless of what you let people do, they're going to do it anyway," Cureton said in her Oct. 22 keynote address at 1105 Media's triple conference on cloud, mobile and cybersecurity.  (1105 Media is the parent company of FCW.)  

Security concerns are critical, but cannot be used to hold back mobile and cloud efforts, Cureton said.  "Address those legitimate fears, but don't be paralyzed by them.  Otherwise, your customers will walk away and find another way to get what they want."

Industry research finds that 38 percent of executives have been issued a tablet, Cureton said, and enterprise tablets will grown by 48 percent in the next five years.  "Address those legitimate fears, but don't be paralyzed by them," she said. "Otherwise, your customers will walk away and find another way to get what they want."

Acknowledging that some CIOs see these trends as "menaces to society," Cureton used the Wizard of Oz to explain how tech leaders can weather the "intense bouts of customer dissatisfaction," and tackle the challenges of cloud and mobile security in a new way:

  • Have a heart. "We need to be passionate about the possibilities that innovation has."
  • Be flexible. "We have to be diligent about not getting rusty."
  • Find courage. "Dig deep and find ways to manage the risks," because the "patch and pray" approach does not work anymore.
  • And perhaps most importantly, "it takes a brain."  CIOs can no longer be just providers (or deniers) of service, she said.  "We need to be influence brokers."

CIOs also need to be knowledgeable about the technologies, Cureton said, and should pilot technologies internally: "See the advice of others, but realize that ultimately you have to act for yourself." 

About the Author

Troy K. Schneider is editor-in-chief of FCW. Connect with him on Twitter: @troyschneider.

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